Makerspaces topped the list of global tech trends in 2016, according to many technology specialists. The term refers to workshop- or laboratory-style spaces where 3-D printers, woodworking materials, robotics and other tools are used. Virtual and augmented reality were also buzzwords last year.
Headsets, narrative clips attached to clothing and brain-sensing headbands provide students with the opportunities to go on virtual field trips, and to enhance images. Learning management systems and virtual learning environments proved popular in 2016 with well-resourced schools in different countries. Software like Versal, Formative and Google Classroom bring the globe and space into the classroom, without the need for complex coding skills. More and more teachers used a traditional technology – video – in their classrooms last year.
Younger teachers tended to incorporate live streaming apps, enabling students to connect with and learn from their peers in classrooms all over the world. School administration became more streamlined last year for those willing to give it a try. Apps are available to enter marks, create lessons, manage class movement and attendance and communicate with parents. Other apps like Gooru, Socrative and Plickers, can help teachers monitor behaviour and general noise.
In 2017, say techies, eye tracking, in particular, will gain in popularity in global classrooms, to record and analyse students’ eye movements. Such tools provide information on what students are focusing on and can help to improve reading skills. Interactive touchscreens will also become available in different sizes, with a sophisticated range of capabilities.